The Most Music for the Best Price
Gone are the days of burning CDs or spending hours upon hours searching up individual songs for every artist or music group you like. Now you can have thousands of songs right at your fingertips.
Due to how profitable streaming services are, many companies are trying their hand in the industry, which means there are a lot of options to pick from. We’ve done the research and have compiled a list of the best music streaming services for families, students, and for people on a zero-dollar budget.
The only thing left to decide will be what the best music streaming service for you is.
Best Overall Music Streaming Service: Spotify
Spotify has faced some stiff competition in the last few years, but has maintained its top spot as the best music streaming service around. With over 50 million songs currently in their catalog, Spotify should be able to satisfy anyone, no matter their music taste.
Spotify has both a free and Premium service, and you will definitely want to go Premium. One of the biggest benefits of Spotify Premium is offline listening. With a Premium subscription, you can listen to up to 10,000 songs offline. You'll also be able to listen at 320 kilobits per second, which is going to give you a seriously high-quality sound. The other features it provides are unlimited skips and ad-free listening.
Even the free version gives you a lot of room to work with. You'll be able to create custom playlists, listen to playlists Spotify customized for you, and customized artist radio stations. Spotify also has a large selection of stellar podcasts to listen to if that’s your thing. Plus you can listen to some Universal Music Group albums before they are officially released.
Spotify’s mobile app isn't as good as the desktop version yet, so it’s recommended that you sort out all your business on a PC to avoid dealing with the hassle on your smartphone. One of the drawbacks of Spotify is that numerous high-profile music artists have been pulling their music from the platform due to disputes over royalties. Not a huge deal, but something to keep in mind.
Spotify’s premium plan begins at $9.99 a month, and you can get a three-month free trial to test it out and see if it’s right for you.
Best Overall Music Streaming Service for Students: Amazon Music or Spotify
For students, your best music streaming service option depends on whether you want to get more out of your plan than just streaming benefits.
Spotify offers a sweet deal for student subscribers: Premium service, as well as access to ad-supported Hulu and Showtime streaming. And this is made available for the low price of $4.99 a month. Just like with the standard Premium service, you can enjoy a three-month free trial before deciding whether you want to start paying.
Another great option for students is Amazon Music. Amazon Music also boasts a catalog of more than 50 million ad-free songs with unlimited access, skips and offline playback available.
Amazon Music is one of many features Amazon Prime subscribers can enjoy, and if you are a student, Amazon Prime is almost a must-buy. For starters, students can get six months of free Amazon Prime. After the six-month free trial period is up, students can remain a subscriber for $6.49 a month, which is half the cost of a standard Amazon Prime subscription.
Along with Amazon Music, students will have access to every other Amazon Prime feature, such as Prime Video, Twitch Prime, Prime Reading, Audible and Amazon Photos. And of course, students will get access to free shipping from two-day shipping up to two-hour shipping, and exclusive access to savings and deals in various areas of Amazon’s massive digital stores.
Spotify Premium Student is $1.50 less per month, but for an extra $1.50, you are getting a lot of bonus features. If you’re a gamer, you’ll love Twitch Prime, and Audible and Prime Reading can help students during their academic studies. The choice is up to you, but we would go with Amazon Music as the top pick for students.
Best Music Streaming Service for Families: Spotify
Once again, Spotify finds itself as our top pick, this time for families. There are some notable competitors; however, they each have their flaws, which prevented us from picking them as the number one option.
Apple Music’s family plan is the same price as Spotify’s family plan ($14.99), allows for the same number of family members (six), and boasts 50 million songs, but loses out to Spotify due to device limit. Spotify’s family plan lets you stream from an unlimited number of devices, but Apple Music cannot say the same.
Another con for Apple Music users is the general hassle that Apple users regularly must go through regarding Apple IDs, iCloud, iTunes, etc.
Google Music is another good option with similar features to Spotify and Apple Music, but again, gets killed by device limits.
Up to six members who are 13 years of age or older can enjoy Spotify on an unlimited number of devices with all the features that come with Premium Spotify service. Spotify is available on almost any smart device you can think of, which is always a plus. The king of music streaming remains on the throne.
Best Free Music Streaming Service: Spotify
I know we must sound like a broken record by now, but we can’t help it if Spotify is the best of the bunch!
Deezer and Pandora were two other options we were considering, but Deezer’s free service just doesn’t offer as much as Spotify’s and Pandora is too restrictive, simplistic, and has far fewer songs available to listen to.
The desktop version of Spotify’s free service allows you to listen to whatever song, album or music artist you want. The downside is that it is ad-supported, so you will have to listen to an ad every few tracks.
Just like with Spotify’s premium service, the free mobile service is inferior to its desktop counterpart. Your music selection is a lot more restrictive, and you have a very limited number of skips available. Spotify’s free service is designed to make you want to sign up for Premium, but since you’re spending nothing, it’s pretty good. Can’t complain about free, right?